Mandatory Vaccination #340

October 23, 2015

Image from National Cancer Institute

This week, we're talking about disease prevention, public health, and whether or not some types of vaccinations should be mandatory. We'll spend the hour in a panel discussion with Barry Bloom, Harvard University's Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Toronto public health ethicist Alison Thompson, pediatrician and University of Pennsylvania vaccinology professor Paul Offit, and Nicholas Little, Vice President and General Counsel at the Center for Inquiry.


  • Barry Bloom
  • Nicholas Little
  • Alison Thompson
  • Paul Offit

Guest Bios

Barry Bloom

Barry Bloom is Harvard University's Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Former Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. He is widely recognized for his work in the area of immunology, infectious diseases, vaccines, and global health. He has made important discoveries in immunity to tuberculosis and leprosy. He served as a consultant to the White House on International Health Policy from 1977 to 1978, was elected President of the American Association of Immunologists, and served as President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 1986. Dr. Bloom has served on the National Advisory Councils of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseaes, NIH, the Center for Infectious Diseases of the CDC and the National Advisory Board of the Fogarty International Center at NIH. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the KwaZulu Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis. He has received numerous awards for his scientific work including the first Bristol-Myers Award in Infectious Diseases, Robert Koch Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in research, and shared the Novartis Award in Immunology.

Nicholas Little

Nick Little is the Center for Inquiry’s Vice President and General Counsel. Nick holds a law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law, in addition to a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and an M.A. in Industrial Relations from the University of Warwick. He oversees the Center's litigation, with a dual focus on protecting the separation of church and state, as well as seeking to ensure that true science, not pseudoscience or invented 'facts' are used to justify public policy. Nick also provides general advice on legal matters impacting the Center.

Alison Thompson

Alison Thompson is an Associate Professor and the University of Toronto's Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. She is a public health ethicist who specializes in infectious disease and vaccine ethics. Her background is in philosophy and medical sociology. She has been involved in pandemic influenza planning and response at the provincial and federal level, and outbreak communications with the World Health Organization.

Paul Offit

Paul A. Offit is a professor of pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases and the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Dr. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 150 papers in medical and scientific journals, is the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, and has written six books.

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